The 2016 Ford Explorer vs The 2016 Toyota Highlander

2016 Ford Explorer and Toyota Highlander front view

The Specs:

2016 Ford Explorervs2016 Toyota Highlander
3.5L Turbocharged V6Engine3.5L V6
16 MPGFuel Economy (City)20 MPG
22 MPGFuel Economy (Highway)25 MPG
350 lb-ftTorque248 lb-ft

If you are thinking about buying a new SUV this year, you will find you are faced with a wide array of brands and models from which to choose. Both the 2016 Ford Explorer and Toyota Highlander have long been among the top choices in the area. Ford first introduced the Explorer in 1991 with Toyota coming into the market with its Highlander in 2001. Over the course of time both vehicles have undergone a number of changes and as many might say, seem to have grown up. We have created this comparison to help you make a decision on what vehicle will best suit you.


2016 Explorer pulling boat

For drivers in the area, power is one of the main considerations when choosing an SUV for work or play. The 2016 Explorer offers plenty of power for even the most demanding driver with is available twin turbocharged 3.5L EcoBoost V6 that delivers an incredible 365 hp and turns out a load hauling 250 lb-ft of torque. Whether you choose the naturally aspirated V6 or the turbo model, both can tow up to 5,000 pounds. While the 2016 Highlander does offer three different engines, the top model is a naturally aspirated 3.5L V6. This engine produces only 270 hp and a scant 248 lb-ft of torque. While acceleration may lag behind the Explorer, especially out on the open road, the V6 Highlander does come equipped to tow up 5,000 pounds as well.


The 2016 Toyota Highlander also offers a wide selection of the latest in hi-tech gear with Toyota's Entune infotainment package that includes smartphone integration and navigation. The Highlander also offers a rear seat entertainment package that is ideal for keeping the kids busy on long trips. Not only does this system play Blu-ray DVDs, it has RCA jacks and wireless connections that let your kids listen to their movies via headphones, helping to keep the peace during the ride.

2016 highlander front left quarter panel

2016 explorer front right quarter panel

Opening the door of the 2016 Ford Explorer will lead you to an interior that is loaded with a wealth of the latest technology, including the latest incarnation of the MyFord Touch touchscreen interface. This system has been developed to interface seamlessly with your smartphone and comes loaded with a number of apps including navigation. Thanks to the voice-activated Sync system, you never have to take your eyes off the road to access the various infotainment options. Keyless entry and ignition make it easy to get in and get started..


The 2016 Ford Explorer comes out slightly ahead in this department with exceptional crash test results. During testing the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety) administration awarded the Explorer a full five stars in overall safety. Drivers can use the rearview camera to help with onerous tasks such as parallel parking and to avoid children playing behind them in the driveway. The Explorer also features a number of warning systems and monitors to keep you safe out on the open road. Much like the Explorer, the 2016 Toyota Highlander also garnered top safety ratings by the NHTSA. It also comes equipped with a number of safety systems such as frontal collision warning and mitigation. Toyota's Safety Connect telematics system offers automatic collision notification and can be used to help answer a number of questions.

What's For You?